LONDON—British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to reassure European Union leaders that her Brexit timetable remains intact despite an adverse court ruling.
She plans to telephone European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Friday to spread the word that her plan is still to start the process to remove Britain from the EU by the end of March.
May’s ability to invoke Article 50 to formally begin the process may be slowed, however, by a High Court ruling that the government needs Parliament’s approval first.
The government plans to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court with a hearing expected next month. If the country’s highest court rules against the government, Parliament will become directly involved in the Brexit situation.
The prospect of parliamentary involvement has raised the prospect of delays in the Brexit process and also the possibility of an early general election in Britain.
The court decision is the first significant setback for May’s Brexit plan, which calls for Article 50 to be triggered early next year, leading to an expected two years of negotiations between Britain and the EU.
A number of pro-Brexit newspapers reacted with venomous anger to the setback in the British exit from the EU, which is seen by many as a way to slow the unchecked arrival of immigrants from other EU countries into Britain.
The Daily Mail tabloid front page characterized the three High Court judges as “Enemies of the People.” Its editorial complained that “three members of an out of touch clique” were willing to frustrate the wishes of the more than 17 million people who voted in favor of leaving the 28-nation EU bloc.
The more measured Daily Telegraph headlined its front page: “The judges versus the people,” and carried a front-page column by UK Independence Party interim leader Nigel Farage saying the court ruling means that “a great betrayal is underway.”